Mt. Mitake is about a 45 minute drive from the base, and it's a really fun drive. You get to drive through Ome, which is absolutely beautiful, and the closer you get to Mitakesan, the greener, and more spectacular it is. Down near the base of the mountain runs a river, which attracts a lot of people as well, and it's also on our list of places to explore!
Once you arrive at the base of Mitakesan, you can drive up a little ways to the cable car station. We parked our car nearby for ¥500 and walked up to buy our tickets. Our children (ages 4, 2, and 5 months) were all free, and it was only ¥1110 round trip for adults. Not too bad, and it was really fun! Mt. Mitake is very steep, as you can see in our photos from the cable car, making the ride that much more exciting.
I love this expression of Bennett's. Everything he sees is literally him seeing it for the first time.
After about an 8 minute ride, you are near the top of the mountain, and the views were really spectacular. As you walk from this spot to the top of Mitakesan, you walk through a small village, with homes, souvenir shops, and smalls restaurants and inns. It was absolutely fascinating to see homes and people living in such a remote location! Some of the homes were so old that they had actual thatched roofs. Crazy.
The view from the top of the cable car ride. It was so stunning; I could have sat there for hours!
Just checking out the route to the shrine.
Since our household goods have not yet arrived, we ventured out on this hike with only our Ergo carrier for Bennett, thus forcing both Clara and Will to hike the whole thing on their own and not in a hiking backpack . . . which really meant that Peter carried Clara most of the way and that Will occasionally got a lift, but really just complained a lot :) That being said, they were both troopers considering how steep the climb was! From the top of the cable car station to the Mitake Shrine is about a half hour walk, but more like an hour if you're making the trek with young children. And it is REALLY steep! And there are a TON of stairs. But it is worth it! Walking through the village, observing the scenery and incredible view, and reaching the ancient shrine at the top really made it an outing worth the work and sweat. (And we got REALLY sweaty!)
This energy did not last long. At all.
These stairs mark the beginning of the many, many, many stairs to the shrine. Definite calf workout.
The Mitake Shrine is said to be one of the oldest shrines in Tokyo, and houses some ancient treasures. It is also one of the most popular places of mountain worship. We arrived close to closing time and had to make it back down before the last cable car, so we couldn't explore too much, but there are several buildings surrounding the main shrine that were beautiful and would have been fun to check out as well. In addition, the Okutama region (in which Mitakesan is located) is well known for its hikes, and from the shrine you can head off in different directions to waterfalls and more technical hikes. But we'll have to save those adventures for a time when we don't have three young kids attached to us!
Mt. Mitake can be reached by train or car. By train (travel to the Mitake station), from Tokyo it's about an hour and a half, and from the Fussa station, near base, it's about a 30 min train ride. From the Mitake station you can catch a bus that will take you directly to the cable car station. Like I mentioned above, we drove and it was a really easy drive. Once you reach Mt. Mitake, there are a few small parking lots on the side of the road at which you should be able to find a spot.
*These coordinates are from Google Maps, and they are the coordinates for the actual mountain. However, this is what we used to get us there, and it worked out great. Follow the instructions in Google Maps or your GPS and it will lead you to the base of the mountain. From there, you just start driving up and will come upon the parking lots and the cable car station.